Well, that's what Civilization 4 told me last night. I got the game for Decemberween, since it was the natural progression: the last two PC games I bought were Civ 2 and Civ 3. My laptop isn't up to specs, but the game still manages to work, though it's a bit choppy, and sometimes my horses, cows, and so forth turn invisible, except for their shadows, apparently possessing custom hoof-oriented knock-offs of the One Ring.
I'm thinking about getting a new desktop that'll meet and beat the specs so that it'll play smoothly. I'm nearly oblivious to the nuances of PC gaming and appropriate hardware, so if you have advice as to how to build and/or buy such a unit (preferably for cheap), please speak to me as if I had the IQ of a YEC... Well, maybe not that low. My idea of compatibility checking is looking for a Playstation logo.
But enough about my pansy PC. I thought I'd bring up Civ 4 because it features more detailed mechanics than usual on religion. For those who haven't played the Civ games, religious and political ideologies are in the big category of "technology" alongside more concrete things like chemistry, lasers, and robotics. Religious "technologies" often work as prerequisites for other technologies. To some extent, I think that's understandable. For example, with all the efforts humans have put into building bigger and better temples to the deities, we've probably learned a few good engineering lessons. I recall some shows that demonstrated some clever mechanics to produce "miracles" in Greek temples.
One (possibly flawed) analogy comes to mind: The space program. In the early days, scientists had to push the limits of engineering to put Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and all their buddies on the moon. The Egyptians had to do the same to build the pyramids. The difference: Religion hasn't displayed any evidence of a moon for it to land on. The end result might be the same, though: In the effort to achieve the end goal, many lessons are learned, and new, useful technologies are developed.
Counter-analogy: Religion can be a lot like war when it comes to technology. War has brought about many advances. There was even a show about it. The problem is that those advances have a cost in terms of homes and lives destroyed that I would prefer to avoid. Religion is similar in that it incurs often unacceptable costs: It can cause a reduction in critical thinking abilities. (Exception I'd make to the sweeping generality: The religious people who readily adjust their beliefs when new facts come in. You're okay in my book.) At its worst, it triggers witch hunts, wars, and other atrocities.
Though modern science has correctly shed its ancient dependency on religion and the supernatural, I'm curious how our distant ancestors would have progressed without religion. I imagine they probably would have progressed faster, not being held back by the phrase "Things Man Was Not Meant to Know." Then again, I can imagine the threat of a plague of vicious beasts if you don't build a perfectly hemispherical dome on the temple could encourage someone to accurately calculate pi.
For now, though, I'm going to continue researching Meditation, so that I can get Philosophy down the line, followed by Liberalism, so I can get the Free Religion civic. I'm not sure I qualify as a liberal, but I'll take it anyway.
P.S.: I typed "First Amendment" in whitehouse.gov's search engine for the "Free Religion" hotlink, and I got this bit of unintentional humor. I didn't intend to get political, but I couldn't really resist this.
EDIT: Tried the whitehouse.gov search engine again, and some results showed up. I guess it was a temporary glitch. It's still funny, though.